tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 9, 2015 1:00am-2:01am PST
different kinds of conversations. and one of these is pragmatism. do you want to get involved in this? >> and the fear, i think, harry, is the point that you end up with the sort of race at the bottom. harry sheer, imam fisel and matthew atkins, thank you very much. that is "all in" for this evening. good evening, rachel. >> thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
there are helicopters on the way and there's been a chase and, of a car that is supposed to contain and i want to say supposed to you know it's not confirmed, gunmen somehow connected with the shooting of the "charlie hebdo" journalists, but all of this is very fresh, and really unconfirmed. something is going on. it may or may not have to do with the killings in paris. >> i want to talk about these pictures we're looking at right now, coming in to us live. you see media.
you also see some of the law enforcement officials on the scene. as you talked about, there was a helicopter overhead. i want to get back to what you mentioned about this car, because we heard earlier reports and again, all of this is moving very fast and none has been confurmd by the french ministry but reports of possibly a carjacking or someone being taken hostage after the suspects might have taken a car from someone. what do you know about that? >> i don't know any more than you just said to be perfectly honest because this stuff is breaking even as we speak and as i say it's unconfirmed. if you look at twitter, reports are coming in from all over and they're all kind of different and none of them are confirmed. >> and as we look at the big picture and try to piece together how all this happened from the shooting near the bastille area at the "charlie hebdo" offices and the hunt that ensued overwards and led up to a
wooded area how close is this to the wooded area that we talked about a lot yesterday? >> i don't know. i've been unable to exactly determine the geography of this betty, so i'm afraid i'm not going to be much help. >> that's all right. it's coming in fast and we're looking at information as we try to get it and get it from you as well. what i've been told this is an area about an hour from paris, some 25 miles northeast of the city, and of course they are looking for what we believe to be the kouachi brothers said and cherif. we've learned more about said that he did have some training with al qaeda in yemen. >> yemen, right. >> cherif was arrested in 202005 before going to fight with jihadists. what do you know about these guys? >> yes. he was actually put on trial at one point for some minor offense, the younger brother and came under the influence of imam
in paris after leading the kind of life you'd have to call that of a bit of a drifter and confused young man described at one point a pot-smoking pizza delivery man who drifted through life with little attachment to religion until he ran into this character. this is the classic story that we're getting from country to country about young men who become involved in violence of in part because they appear to have had nothing better to do with themselves and they come under the influence of a charisma tick figure that's been the story in london. that's been the story in paris. that's been the story of many of these young men who have gone to fight for the islamic state. so that pattern is definitely beginning to build up and to some extent that was the story of the alleged bombers in
boston. it's really now a very clear pattern and quite striking. >> it absolutely is and it's become quite deadly in this instance. as we look at live pictures and viewers are tuning in i want to let you know this is coming to us about 40 miles northeast of paris. the video is coming in to us hot so as it comes in we'll try to describe what we're hearing and seeing and being told by authorities but little information is coming in at the moment. we were looking moments ago before we had this shot inside the vehicle, we don't know which vehicle this is at the moment but there were shots overhead of what looks to be like a wooded area but there were some buildings around it and there were two helicopters above. we're being told that people in the area have been advised to stay indoors. i understand that we have lieutenant colonel michael kay on the phone, a former senior british officer. oh he just dropped off the
line. we'll try to get him back. fred barsanta barbara with us. fred as we walk through these developments right now i want to talk a little bit more about the suspects. you had mentioned some of their background and some of their involvement in the past with terrorist groups. are these guys highly trained? what do you know about that? >> we don't know much about the training. there is the report of the training in north africa rather murky ties to militant groups in north africa but mostly the training the critical training in some respects is less the weapons training than the psychological effect of a charisma tick figure that prompts somebody to want to go off and get this kind of training, and the man who is supposed to have done this was another young man, an algerian
in paris named fareed benietu, who lived in the same area and presided at this mosque and influenced hundreds and hundreds of these young men. there's so much that isn't known. as i say, there is beginning to be this pattern, however, of young men coming under the influence of a charisma tick islamist figure. ron allen joins us live from paris. we are hearing of a situation 25 miles northeast of paris. what do you know about the search for the suspects? >> reporter: the police zeroed in on an area just outside of paris to the northeast. there's a massive operation under way.
there are reports earlier in the half hour of a going battle there may be people dead wounded as a result of that reports of a carjacking since we started this whole episode. there are reports of hostages in a business district. unclear how many people might be affected. at this point, this seems to be the clearest break they've had. they spent most of the afternoon, evening hours searching an area they thank is not far from this now. this may be the moment this country, the police authorities, earn here has been waiting for, that they're zeroing in on the suspects. we don't have confirmation they've beensighted but police are sending a lot of units in the area trying to close in and seal it off and perhaps, perhaps hopefully apprehend these two individuals. >> we saw some video earlier of
law enforcement on the ground in fact helicopters in the air. what we're looking at is video of the traffic in the area and there is a lot of law enforcement on the ground directing people away obviously from the situation that is ongoing right now. you talked a little bit about a hostage situation, and i know the information is very fluid right now, but we had heard there might have been a hostage situation in a construction company that was nearby. what do you know about that? >> we're getting similar reports and again, it's a very fluid and fast-moving situation and we don't know the extent of what hostages, what's happening with the hostages but this is a fairly dense area where this is all happening, a business district it's 10:00 in the morning, a little after here so it stands to reason that there may be any number of people who have been taken hostage. it's unclear whether these two suspects are together whether they're separate. the gun about thele that we
heard reports about, they're now other indications that it may have been pretty sig kabt and it may have been any number of people who are wounded in the cross-fire perhaps, but again, this is all happening at this moment. the police are setting up a perimeter. they've been out in that area all night. it's on the edge of a wooded area where they perhaps, the brothers the suspects were perhaps able to evade authorities for some time but it's not long after daybreak here this incident this carjacking apparent carjacking and then shoot-out happened and now again, just literally hundreds of police are descending on this area. >> we're hearing, ron that, some 200 police officers are on the scene hoping to enter into some kind of negotiation. again, all of this is very fluid. we're also hearing that an
airport is nearby and s.w.a.t. teams are moving in toward that airport. are you sure or have you heard any confirmation that this particular action is directed toward those suspects? are these guys involved or could this be something different? >> it could be anything but there's every indication that this is a pursuit of these two suspects. there have been again, it's not far from the area where the police have ex-tebsive manhunt going on for many many hours yesterday. it's an area between there and paris, heading back in this direction. again, about an hour 90 minutes away from downtown paris, where i'm stabbing at the moment. there are reports that the suspects have been sighted. there are many reports yesterday, throughout the day. again, given the heavy police pursuit, presence in that area now, they certainly seem to
think they've got these guys. whether there will be a negotiation or what is going to happen now is unclear, but there's every indication that they have that they found their two suspects. >> are these two suspects do you believe they're lone wolves if you will or are they part of perhaps a larger group intent on doing something more? >> unclear at this point whether this was a "lone wolf attack" whether it was inspired by al qaeda or another terrorist organization. we know that the two kouachi brothers have ties to jihadist groups and they've been on the radar here as far back as 2005. we know that the yucker brother was convicted of various terrorism charges and served some time in prison dating back to 2008.
there are reports overnight the older brother spent several months in yemen training weaponry and perhaps other terrorist techniques. so these individuals are, have -- are trained. they have a lot of skill. you'll remember the attack when it was carried out. it looked like an operation that was planned, and the two suspects were able to handle their weaponry very well. although they didn't have the information exactly where they were going but again t doesn't seem terribly, completely amateurish is the point and how much they planned for this particular operation, how long they planned for this escape is really unclear. now remember there's a third and perhaps a fourth suspect that we're talking about involved in all this because there was another incident a separate incident as police described it where a
policewoman was shot and killed and another person seriously wounded early yesterday to the south of paris. result of some traffic accident a gunman emerged in that situation heavily armed so he is wanted in connection with the death, the shooting of that policewoman, and there's every indication that when the attack happened on the magazine the other day that there was a driver in the car which would be a third suspect in that particular situation. they've arrested an 18-year-old and he's been in custody for over 24 hours now but this young man reportedly says that he has an alibi and that he was not anywhere near the area. police have been circumspect. that individual whether or not he's involved. he's not been charged as we understand it. the bottom line is a lot of moving parts at this moment but what's happening up in the northeast now is a very strong
vivid indication that police have the two suspects in their sights. >> ron allen, i'll ask you to stand by. we are getting some new video and we want to go on the phone to casandra minograd who is approaching the scene. she's a senior producer with nbcnews.com. what can you tell us about what you're seeing and hearing right now? >> reporter: we've just heard from france's interior minister said an operation is under way 20 miles from paris and five miles from charles de gaulle airport. some almost look like military vehicles are entering into the scene, s.w.a.t. teams are moving in. we've been told local schools and businesses in the area have been locked down. there are unconfirmed reports at this time that one person might be dead but that has not been confirmed by nbc news yet so what we know there is an operation. the french interior minister
said this is because the suspects were spotted and everybody's on the move. >> okay so that's good information coming in the suspects have been spotted, because we had heard earlier about the hostage situation, and we had heard about possible people being wounded but there was no direct connection although it was implied with all the police presence there. so you are hearing indeed that the suspects have been spotted in this area. >> the french interior minutester, yes, just said in a press conference that there was a sighting reported of the two suspects, which is what prompted this operation to kick off. we are hearing reports that the suspects have holed themselves up in an industrial park in the town and are believed to have a hostage, if not more. >> what do you know this industrial town? we're hearing earlier that there may be a construction company in which a hostage situation may be taking place? >> reporter: i can't confirm that at this point. it's about 25 miles from paris
but it is near the airport there. so that's as much as we know at this time. >> and talk to me about the police presence on the ground the s.w.a.t. teams, because we heard there were about 200 officers on the scene, more headed there. there were also other reports that there's an airport nearby and s.w.a.t. teams were moving in toward that airport as well. >> reporter: exactly. it is close to charles de gaulle airport, which is a main international airport for paris, so that's where it's located and the security presence on the ground has been massive for the past several days since the initial attack on "charlie hebdo." we were told yesterday nearly 100,000 security personnel mobilized further response and before this operation started we heard that 4,000 military personnel would be added today. >> i was just in paris a couple weeks ago and on the way to that same airport, charles de gaulle and it is a very rural area.
do you have any indication why they would have headed out there? is it a hiding point? >> reporter: yes. >> yes, it is? >> reporter: well it's not necessarily a hiding point. the search yesterday focused on a part of northeastern france about an hour and a half from paris, very rural farmland lots of small, small villages and we heard some reports earlier that there might have been a spotting in another small town in between the rural area and paris, so we believe again but not necessarily confirmed, there are a lot of moving parts and rumors and unconfirmed reports at this moment but we did hear that they may have been spotted in town motoring towards paris and might have pulled off into this industrial park as they approached. >> do these two suspects know the area pretty well? >> reporter: i can't speak to that. >> all right it's just
interesting how this whole thick has played out from the center paris to the rural towns. bring us up to speed what you know about this possible hostage situation. you said there may have been one person killed. >> reporter: we're hearing unconfirmed reports there might be one fatality at this moment but again, it's a very fluid situation. the operation is still ongoing and really only just getting started, from what we can tell. at the moment we know that there is a very large security operation, and actually i'm just seeing now sorry to interrupt, the paris prosecutor's office denied any reports there have been any deaths in this operation, so that just goes to show that because this is moving so fluid and coming in minute by minute that there's a lot
unconfirmed at this point. we're waiting to see what plays out. >> absolutely. we're making that very clear. >> reporter: and there is a hostage involved. >> we're making that clear especially for viewers watching or who have just tuned in. we are watching this play out live as it's happening over in france. this is about 25 miles northeast of paris, in a small town called demotin inguel. it's a rural town and there's a construction company where a possible hostage situation could be under way. we're hearing a lot of different reports. as we heard from casandra vinograd an nbc producer she confirmed so far this report of a possible fatality is not true. there is no fatality reported at this time but a hostage situation could be under way. there have been helicopters overhead and where are you right now, casandra? give us an idea of where you are
to this active situation and what you're seeing. >> what i see here to be honest is poor visibility which probably hinders some of the convoy of police cars and vehicles, was racing down the highway. we've seen it carried on french tv since early this morning. it's very very poor visibility. it's very gray and rainy so it's rough roads at the moment which is interesting in the context of if there was a pursuit and a car chase, how that may have affected it i don't know. >> all right, casandra i want to you stand by. we are going to come back to you momentarily. i want to go live to nbc's ron allen, who is in paris. ron, i know that you've been working your sources. you've been listening to this as well. what can you tell us? >> reporter: again, betty, this is a very rapidly-evolving situation that just started within the past hour. there's every indication that
police believe and certainly acting as if they believe that the two suspects are somewhere in the vicinity of this town. there were reports earlier this morning of a carjacking and a shoot-out, hostage takings, pursuit, and now there are literally hundreds if not thousands of police officers s.w.a.t. units descending on this particular area. there are reports that "negotiations" have begun, but the extent of that we really don't know. we don't know if they have made contact with the two individuals, we don't know if the two brothers are together. just a lot at this point that we don't know but again, every indication that this might be the moment that the police and certainly everybody in this country have been hoping for. here not far from where the initial attack happened, the magazine attack happened three days ago there's been a huge outpouring of support. people have been descending on this square here for the past couple of nights thousands of people literally. there's a strong feeling in this
country that they want these two men, perhaps three, if that is the number that were involved apprehended and brought to justice as quickly as possible. this has been seen as an attack on this country, not just on this magazine that was an institution here. yesterday the authorities spent all day zeroing in on a community looking for these two suspects. they were going house to house, door to door. they were detaining people searching people in the streets, trying to find out any information they could. we also understand that there are as many as nine or more people who have been arrested who are in custody. we understand that the brother's mother, parents, the mother and father i believe have been questioned by authorities. the big clue in all this is that one of the brothers left an i.d. card of some sort in the vehicle that was used during the attack allegedly, and that's how authorities have been able to get on their trail so quickly, almost immediately after the incident happened or some 24 hours after it happened.
so when it a lot of rapidly moving events. everyone here is watching this very closely. we're hoping for an update from the police but of course at this point with an active operation under way, they're going to be very circumspent what b what they say because these suspects in fact if these are the two, could have access to radio, tv communications. the authorities have been they said yesterday the interior minister did at the press briefing that they have scouring internet, phone records, telecommunications using every available means to try and track these two suspects. so again, very fast-moving situation we're monitoring but every indication this could be the break france has been waiting for. >> ron, i'll ask you to stand by. i want to go on the phone lieutenant colonel michael kay, is he a former senior british official. colonel -- >> hi, betty. >> -- let me ask you about what you know so far in this
especially listening to what we've been able to report. what kind of picture is this painting for you? >> i think what's incredible here betty, is that we've been going into this now for 48 hours and as your previous guest alluded to there is a lot of information about these two suspects, the two brothers the kouachi brothers, said who is 34, who is the older and then cherif kouachi, who is 32 so there is two years between them. right from the outset it was fairly evident that this wasn't just a normal sydney-type lone wolf attack where there was a low amount of training and the person in sydney didn't appear to really know what they were doing. these two brothers did, and as the information and the intelligence started to build and we know from your previous guest, one of the reasons that happened so quickly was because one of the brothers left his passport in the car but it allowed the authorities to develop their two profiles very
very quickly and what we know from these guys is that they have well trained and they've also been to or had association with theaters of operation. we know that cherif has been known to the french authorities for a long time almost ten years, and he's a convicted terrorist going to prison in 2008 for being part of a terror cell that actually funneled jihadists from france into iraq and that was part of al czar zarqawi's operation. and said has had linked to al qaeda on the arabian peninsula in yemen. the profiles have started to build and what we know is that and what we saw during the attack is it was very calm. it was very methodical. there was clearly a lot of training that had gone into this and the people that the
french authorities that we're dealing with were dangerous. they were dangerous and premeditate premeditated. now the way this has played out so far, i was trained in escape and evasion. what that means is that whenever i operated in iraq or afghanistan, if something happened and we were shot down we had to know how to evade the enemy and what we were taught and one of the essences of the training was that you move by night and you hunt it down by day. so one of the things that emerged yesterday in that region, it was in a village called villiers cossarray, two people tried to hold up a gas station in broad daylight. we don't know that was the kouachi brothers but that was a mistake to give away your position if you like. the area to the northeast of paris, if you keep going another
75 miles you hit the belgium border. we already know in europe through lots of conversation that access across europe is fairly easy in terms of immigration control. the borders because of the european union, you can go from france to belgium or belgium to germany or to italy, you can do it pretty easily. >> the borders are very porous there. >> in terms of trafficking arms in terms of trafficking finances, in terms of trafficking people in terms of getting access into syria, which is, you know where we know over 1,000 jihadists have actually gone it's relatively easy and this has been a huge concern of the intelligence authorities over the last couple of years. it's not just jihadists going to operational areas such as iraq and syria, and even down into north africa because france has close and strong links with north africa we've caught the
likes of maghreb and boko haram in north africa. intelligence communities have been incredibly nervous and cautious about the effect of what happens when battle-hardened jihadists come back. they're trained, they've got operational experience and if that process of disenfranchisement is still occurring, what the secondary and tertiary consequences are and that's what we're seeing play out at the moment. >> lieutenant colonel we're seeing heavy police presence in the area. you talk about how well trained the guys were how premeditated this attack was and how porous the borders are over there. why wouldn't they try to get out of the country immediately or why this area? is this a good safe hiding place for them? did it provide some kind of refuge? what are you taking from what we're learning? >> reporter: there's a bit of a dichotomy going on at the moment. on the one hand you rightly point out and from what we've
seen they are battle-hardened, very calm and measured looked like a lot of training that went into this hit but on the other hand the scape and evasion aspects aren't quite as planned as they should be and there are gaps in their capability. i think that's what the police will be trying to exploit at the moment. i used to do a lot of car chases and apprehension of terrorists in northern ireland, i used to be the aviation commander and the first thing the police authorities will be looking to do in the area which was obvious from yesterday is what we call the four cs, they want to confirm the area they want to clear the area of civilians, they want to cordon it so they want to make sure that they've put checkpoints on all the major roads around where the area is and then they want to control the flow of people and traffic going into and out of the area. obviously they've got to combine that with people who live in the local area that need to carry on with their lives so it's the
four cs, confirm, clear, cordon and control and contain this situation that seems to have occurred about 20 25 to 30 miles northeast of paris. that's what they will be doing. when you bring in a hostage to the situation that will tell the authorities a number of things and desperation is starting to set in. so i think in terms of the situation being dynamic and progressing, the authorities will be very much looking to contain that situation. so it's very hard to say how that will play out, but they will want to keep the situation, the dynamic situation in one location. >> with what you know about their particular training if said trained with al qaeda in yemen and cherif with the background that he has, would they go out in a blaze, if you will, or i mean are these guys
who would rather run than stay and fight? >> reporter: i mean that's a really good question. when i was in lebanon, i went to -- i'm an international affairs correspondent now and i interviewed a radical sheikh in the northern city of lebanon called tripoli, this is a guy called omar bakri. he's a radical sheikh that used to support the jihadists and al qaeda movement. he was open in telling me isis. had a number of different recruitment centers throughout europe n france germany, italy and the uk where people who were disenfranchised could sign up to this list, and the list was about self-sacrificing missions. it was about suicide bombers, the jihadists call themselves sacrificing missions. i found that staggering but the point is that is one of the
major modus operandis of the jihadists, is the suicide bomber. because it allows them to carry out a devastating attack but it allows them to do it with minimalist equipment minimalist knowledge. >> right. >> and creating the maximum collateral. now this is very different, and this has been talked about a lot over the last 48 hours, this was almost a professional assassination. >> right. slunt colonel, i'm going to ask you to stand by just for a moment because we need to go back to ron allen who is live for us in paris. ron, have you been able to gather any additional information? >> reporter: well, we're watching social media and getting a lot of reports from other media as well and there are reports that an airport that is not far from this area where this operation is taking place, that a couple of the runways have been shut down and we also understand or from again reports on social media and elsewhere,
not confirmed that charles de gaulle airport there have been a couple of flights delayed or diverted from the airport because of gunfire in the vicinity of the airport. again, unconfirmed, but it sounds like we're describing it as a police operation but it sounds more like a military a massive operation. yesterday there were tactical teams deployed into these neighborhoods that were heavily armed. the suspects are considered extremely dangerous and extremely well-armed. as your previous guest has been saying these two individuals allegedly have undergone a significant amount of training and not just ordinary guys out there. they appear to have some significant capability to -- >> ron, let me ask you this -- >> reporter: -- carry out an attack. >> i'm hearing from my executive producer it's charles de gaulle airport which is about 13 miles. if that is the case that is a major airport there in france.
>> reporter: yes those are the reports. there are two airports that we're talking about. one is a smaller airport that's in the area but yes, we're talking about charles de gaulle. one of the major airports in paris. and if the reports are true again there have been flights delayed or diverted because of gunfire in the area but we can't conif irm that at this moment, but that's what we're reading and hearing on social media. obviously everybody in this vicinity, everybody on this continent is paying a lot of attention to this and trying to discern what is happening but it is a very very active operation under way right now. >> that could be a huge domino effect. >> reporter: confirmed information is difficult. >> a lot of international flights take off from there. it's a very very busy and a large airport that serves the france and paris area. we're also hearing, ron, that hospitals in the area where the
search is active and under way right now have been put on alert as well. >> reporter: that stands to reason. i would imagine schools in the area are taking precautions, lockdown perhaps. hospitals, yes, because there have been reports of people wounded. we believe the police have been steering us away from reports that there have been fatalities involved as a result of the gunfight that happened. to be clear at charles de gaulle we're talking about gunfire near in the vicinity of the airport, not necessarily at the airport or involving the airport per se. so again, yes, a very dangerous situation up there, hundreds if not thousands of police officers involved, near a community, and quickly evolving as the police zero in on their targets. >> we heard a little bit earlier from casandra vinograd, one of the nbc producers on the ground
there, that there are reports confirming that there were no fatalities at this point, because there's a lot of information, it's moving very rapidly and very fluid and we were hearing that earlier, and just want to put that out there for viewers who are watching and just tuning in. so far we have heard that there have been no fatalities but an active situation is under way, possibly a hostage situation taking place about 25 miles northeast of paris, and ron, are you hearing any more about any negotiations any communication with these suspects if that active hostage situation is under way? >> reporter: i'm just reading through a note we've been in contact with the airport authorities at charles de gaulle, and apparently they're saying the departures have been unaffected not affected because they take off in an area in a direction that's away from all this police activity and so there has been no impact on
their flight schedule we're hearing from the authorities at charles degall. >> that's good news. >> reporter: so we're trying to clarify that. >> charles de gaulle is a very big airport in the area. >> reporter: and that's the problem. it is the airport, and that's the problem with a lot of this information that's coming from social media, that it's very cryptic and it's very sketchy and people are trying to piece things together. throughout the day yesterday there were hourly reports that people thought they spotted the suspects here or there. there are a lot of places around the town where police were deploying to try and find these suspects but this seems much more different. it seems that in fact this is certainly a moment that the police are really seeming to believe they have these suspects. there are reports again that there was -- >> help us go through the time line from the attack at the newspaper there near the bastille area in the center of
paris to this area 25 miles northeast of paris. what transpired in between? >> reporter: well this is day three since this attack happened, and it happened just down the road there, not far from me, in the middle of the day. then the suspects fled into the north of paris. there was an encounter with police along the way. two police officers were killed. there have been ten people killed at the magazine. the chase has gob on from then and again, the big moment seems to be that the identification card or passport of one of the suspects was found in the getaway car. the other variable on all this is that there's an 18-year-old who may have been a third person involved in the attack perhaps driving the getaway car who turned himself in to authorities once his name was put out there to the public and on social media, who has been questioned,
who is still in custody we believe. we do not think he has been charged. he told authorities that he was not school. some of his classmates have come forward saying that he was not involved. so there's a big question mark as to whether there is a third suspect. >> right. >> reporter: or not. >> ron, i'm going to ask you to stand by quick because everything is moving very fast and we want to get to casandra vinograd, she's nearest to the scene right now, this active situation that's taking place. casandra, what are you seeing and hearing? i'm being told that we just lost her, the phone connection was just lost. so we'll try to get to casandra and speaking with her a little bit earlier she was describing that the area was being cordonned off. we understand that people living nearby have been told to stay in place. also getting news some rail service has been suspended for
safety reasons. hospitals nearby have been put on alert and in an airport nearby, understand that s.w.a.t. teams are moving in toward that airport. but it has been confirmed by ron allen, who is live for us in paris, that charles de gaulle airport, which is about 13 miles or minutes that is from the active search scene, has not been affected as of yet. flights are still taking off from there but if you look to the left of your screen you see a helicopter. we've seen several of them flying over, and this is part of that active search. it's about 25 miles northeast of paris. we have been told by french police according to the associated press that a hostage has been taken. no information as to who that hostage is or and what particular area that hostage has been taken, but there were reports earlier that a construction company is nearby and there was a possible hostage situation there. we're getting a lot of
information coming in to msnbc. it is very fluid and it is very fast and so we're bringing it to you as quickly as possible but want to make sure that you understand that a lot of this is coming in, some of it unconfirmed and we're trying our best to get that confirmation for you. let's go on the line now to jim cavanaugh, who joins us. jim, as you watch this play out, what's your reaction to what you're seeing? >> well it looks like if you can say good news it's not good news in a desperate situation like this but at least they've located these killers it looks like and maybe surrounded them and they may be they may have one or a few, a small number anyway of hostages. and that's a place where the police can start. they can start to work. so when they're rampageing the countryside and trying to find them you know many lives hang in the balance. now, if you can get a static situation, if they're in one spot maybe in a vehicle, maybe
in a small building there near charles de gaulle airport, then they can start their tactical operations much practiced negotiations and tactical operations to, you know make everybody safe. first goal is to save the life of anybody being held and that's what they'll be working toward instantly. the task for the tactical commander is to stop the thing, to get it static because then you have to work from there. >> what's going through the minds right now of these suspects especially knowing that said kouachi, who is 34 years old, trained with al qaeda in yemen and his brother, cherif, who is 3, was arrested before going to fight with jihadists, knowing their background and knowing their possible training, what's going through their minds right now as this is playing out? >> well that's a great question. what goes through is kind of a couple of things. it goes sort of from panic to calm. it depends how their emotions are at the moment and what's
happening around them. instantly, they're very manic, looking around highly alert. this is what human beings do when they're being pursued, social in a life and death situation, maybe trying to grab somebody, but then these guys who have already been involved in this vulgar homicide you know, of a dozen people and the shoot-out, and have likely been in conflict areas before will then reach a little bit calmer point when they realize where they are and now they have to try to extricate themselves. they may come to see that they're not going to get out of it so then their decision is going to flow from there. what the police on-scene commander wants to do is keep it still, see if he can get communication because he may want to save the lives of any french citizens being held by them. >> given the training said has specifically had with al qaeda in yemen, what does that training tell them to do in a
situation like this? is it one to flee or one to stay and fight until the very end? >> yes, you know that's the thing we talk about often on the air is about training and these guys' traiping we've been talking about it since the "charlie hebdo" incident. you can't conflate and although al qaeda and aqap and a lot of these terrorist organizations do have training and can operate on the military battlefield, and they can be very deadly and so forth, you can't equate their tracking to the training of say the united states military or even the french military or the french foreign legion or any of these great militaries of the world. these are not special forces trained operators, you know who can understand the situation that deal deliberately fall back on their tracking. i heard mikey kay talk about his training with the british commandos or the special air service, talk about the units
that the british have. these are top units, these guys are highly trained. don't think training with aqa. for a few months equates to that level of expertise. it doesn't. you've seen some of the pictures of al qaeda over the years running on the jungle gym and shooting rifles. yes, they have some training. yes, they have some small unit tactics, but it's not going to be a training that's going to be able to defeat the french police tactical teams in a hostage barricade situation. they're going to be limited more by the physics, the gravity, the humanity and their position against the police. they don't have as much arms now as the police. >> absolutely. >> so it's very different. >> in sheer numbers they are absolutely outnumbered. we heard at least 200 police on the scene, i'm sure more are arriving as well and we're also hearing, too, though that this coming from wire reports that the french interior ministry
spokesperson says that he is almost certain, these are in quotes "almost certain that the hostage-takers are the two "charlie hebdo" suspects." that's confirming what we've been talking about this morning that these two suspects are believed to be holed up in this area 25 miles northeast of paris. jim, are you a little surprised they only got 25 miles outside of the city especially given what appeared to be a very methodical and well-planned attack on the "charlie hebdo" offices? >> yes, these guys are ruthless vicious terrorists wannabe guy killers but they're not, you know, career criminals who know thousand escape and evade the police. i mean they flubbed a lot of things they did there. we talked about their expertise. they dropped their i.d. there, you know one guy lost his shoe. they went to the wrong door. they had to force someone to open a door. what if the person refused, what if the person said you'll have
to kill me. do they not get in? so the planning for the high-level criminal activity here was not very good. certainly the ruthlessness of it the ruthlessness of it the vul fwarity of it and the determination of it and the practice with firearms and ammunition vests and so forth, all of that is true that is all true and that separates them from a maniacal killer who runs into a place and screams some phrases and starts shooting everybody with no planning or anything. so this is a medium level in the terrorist world. it's not the one guy going crazy like the attack on the british soldier, rigby, on the street. couple guys with a meat cleaver going berserk, and it's not the planning of al qaeda at african embassy bombings for years or
9/11 or some of the ways -- >> they've done some damage. we have 12 people dead and 11 people injured and an active search that is under way right now. jim, i'm going to ask to you stand by. we want to go back to ron allen, who is live in paris for us. ron, i don't know if you heard but we just got some confirmation through wire reports that the french interior ministry spokesperson says is almost certain that the hostage-takers are the two "charlie hebdo" suspects. so again as we've been talking about this morning, this is the active search scene for the suspects taking place about 25 miles northeast of paris. what are you hearing? >> reporter: not surprising obviously there's a massive police operation there. we were told yesterday there's some 88,000 security forces who have been on duty trying to find these two suspects for the past 36 hours or so since this happened. so yes, and all of this is a fortress community, a fortress town in paris with so many
police around to try to find these suspects so we also understand that residents in the area have been told to stay indoors and essentially shelter in place. we don't know at this point whether the suspects are cornered in the facility. again, i hate to speculate because there's so much we don't know about what's happening on the ground. the situation could end quickly. it could go on for some time. who knows if there's a prolonged negotiation. what we do know that the suspects are presumed to be armed and extremely dangerous, and so the police are obviously going to take this carefully taken does affect a very wide community of people who are in the area so it's a good time to just shelter in place and let the authorities do their job but certainly the french authorities have been planning for this. they this problem of terrorism home grown terrorism is nothing
new here. these two brothers have been on the radar, especially the younger one for as long as ten years, back to 2005 or so. they clearly seemed to have links to jihadi groups and they were under surveillance to some extent by authorities during the time over the past ten years although it seems in recent years or some period of time they dropped off the radar to some extent or they got below the radar. the french officials have said that there are over 1,000 people they're trying to keep an eye on and they don't have the manpower to do that 24/7. yes, there indication this is coming to an end >> sorry, i have to interrupt you. we go on the phone to vivian walt with "time" magazine. vivian, i know you're there in france. tell me what you're seeing and what you're hearing. >> well it's sketchy information coming out from the
government itself, so they're in a highly delicate situation. until a couple of hours ago we thought this was pretty much the climax of a massive manhunt involving 80,000 police officers france's s.w.a.t. riot teams and so on. what we have now increasingly looks like a hostage situation and that is far far more complicated to have men supposedly armed with perhaps rocket-propelled grenade launchers, kalashnikov rivals and weapons to bring more mass casualties, if the police do not act with exceeding caution. i would say all signs point to the fact that we are nearing the end of this two-day drama. the interior minister this morning sounded more confident than he sounded at any moment since the terror attack on
wednesday. he told reporters that they basically had the men surrounded. however, given the fact that you have civilians inside a factory, and we're not even sure how many civilians, this is a factory that might have numerous employees, and it appeared to happen at the time which is the beginning of the workday here in france. >> vivian i want to ask you about something you just talked about. you mentioned a factory. we had heard a little bit earlier about a possible hostage situation in a construction company. what do you know about this particular factory? >> i have to say not much. the detail ss are evolving rapidly and we're not quite sure what sort of factory it is what sort of workforce they have or even who works at 9:00 in the
morning, and forguff me but this is very rapidly unfolding situation at the moment >> absolutely. we're getting information coming in by the minute some of it confirmed, a lot of it unconfirmed. this area this town and we understand it's a tiny town about 25 miles northeast of paris. what can you tell us about that area? >> well if you look at the map it is really just a stone's throw on the map from charles de gaulle airport, which is europe's second busiest airport. there are literally hundreds and hundreds of plaebz in and out of there every day. and so you have really this is the suburbs of the city. once you get past charles de gaulle airport you're into what's more of fields there's even old famous chateaus around
there. old villages famous for being tourist sites, and amidst them are a few industrial centers, factories where people commute from and actually commute a lot from the kind of immigrant-heavy southern flats around paris. >> are you hearing anything about charles de gaulle airport? you said europe's second biggest airport, a number of flights go in and out of there, and a number of trains come through that airport as well. are you hearing anything about any disruption in service there or any shots being fired nearby? >> well the roads have been seriously disrupted but flights so far are running normally. luckily what we've seen is an operation that's taking place away from this area on the other side of paris from the
airport, and so you know 99% of people who get out of the airport and get in a bus or taxi are headed in the opposite direction. and so it might not even be aware that anything is happening right near the airport. so right now we are not seeing a disruption to travel but you know, the day is still young and we're only at 11:00 in paris now. this has been the situation that has gone on for about two hours, and given the fact that you have hostages it's very unclear how long this might take to resolve. >> we were understanding that there were at least 200 police on the scene. this was about an hour ago so i'm sure that has increased substantially. i also understand s.w.a.t. teams were headed to a smaller airport nearby as well. hospitals have been put on alert in the area and some of the
rail service has been suspended for safety reasons. obviously people who are living nearby and we were seeing earlier from the video that we had of helicopters overhead that there seemed to be some housing and residential areas that those folks are being told to shelter in place. what do you know as we've watched this play out for about two days now, what do you know about these two suspects and their training and what we could possibly see play out here? >> well you know until yesterday it was thought that the younger brother, cherif kouachi, and again these are still suspects the police are almost convinced that they are the men but they are still suspects, and we still do not know who these men are. further, let's assume they are
the kouachi brothers yesterday the younger one, cherif was much more on the police radar than the older brother, said. he had tried to go to iraq to join the fight against american troops there. he spent 18 months in jail because of that and his older brother, said has never been arrested. however yesterday french intelligence did tell the american officials that indeed said had traveled to yemen in 2011 and had received weapons training from the al qaeda militants in the country, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, and that changes the picture considerably, somebody who clearly has had proportional terror training and appears to have professional weapons with them and also it possibly
changes the calculation of the government and other governments about whether or not the attack against the publication "charlie hebdo" was just the work of one isolated little terror cell or whethers it actually one piece in a much small global puzzle a global strategy and whether or not the men might have been acting under instructions from an al qaeda affiliate. >> that's a key question, and it seems right now from what we understand from the french interior ministry spokesperson that he is almost certain that the hostagetakers are the two "charlie hebdo" suspects, and we are watching an active search play out right now. i'm going to hand off our breaking news coverage to my colleague, thomas roberts. >> thanks, betty. it is friday january the 9th welcome to "way too early." we're starting our coverage half an hour earlier.
unfolding as we speak, about to turn 11:00 a.m. in the french countryside, roughly 25 miles outside of paris. northeast is where this has been going sources reporting shots have been fired, that two people are dead. nbc news has not been able to confirm that yet. however, the french brothers suspected of carrying out this paris terror attack on charlie are believed to be in the small town, hold up potentially with a hostage. right now, a major operation is under way to detain cherif kouachi and said kouachi. two people stole a car and appeared to have taken one hostage. there is a school on lockdown. again, it's just 11:00 a.m. in france. france's interior minister is almost certain the men are the kouachi brothers, the men they are searching for. this is happening in